Hampton Rep. Renny Cushing is stepping away from his leadership positions to focus on his battle against prostate cancer.

The Hampton Democrat stayed in office after he learned in May that he had stage four prostate cancer.

Cushing said in a statement that he is reluctantly taking his doctor's advice and taking a medical leave of absence after serving more than 30 years as a representative. Deputy Leader David Cox will assume his responsibilities as Democratic Leader, and legislative leader Rep. Mary Jane Wallner will step in as Deputy Democratic Leader.

"I have fought my entire life for the people of New Hampshire," Cushing said. "But for now, I need to focus on another fight."

'Good Trouble' for New Hampshire

Fellow Hampton resident state Sen. Tom Sherman called Cushing a force who liked to make 'good trouble' for the state.

"He spoke eloquently about many issues to the entire House, and he was a leader who was held in the highest respect by both parties," Sherman told Seacoast Current. "There is just nobody that I have ever known in the legislature who lived his values, his principals and his beliefs the way Renny did, and yet he did so with so much kindness. I've never met anyone quite like him."

Sherman recalled that despite the murder of his father in 1988, he was against the death penalty.

"I was in the Senate the day we overrode the governor's veto on the appeal. The absolute elation on Renny's face. I got a big hug. It was his dream come true, being able to make it true," Sherman said.

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley said that Cushing is a fighter and in his toughest battle ever.

"From the moment we both were elected to the House in 1986, I have watched as Renny weathered some of the toughest fights, as well as celebrated some of our greatest accomplishments. He is facing one of his toughest battles right now, but I know that Renny will tackle this one as well," Buckley said. "I am glad that he is taking the time he needs to get better. We at the New Hampshire Democratic Party are thinking of Representative Cushing and his loved ones, and wish him persistence in his fight."

Many well wishes via social media

"As Renny Cushing takes this time to focus on his health, Valerie and I join with so many here in the Granite State in wishing him and his family well. Our prayers are with you, Renny," Gov. Chris Sununu said.

"My thoughts are with Renny Cushing and his family at this difficult time. Thank you, Renny, for your steadfast leadership and devotion to NH’s working families. Wishing you peace & strength as you focus on your health and spend time with loved ones around you," Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said in a tweet.

"Renny’s decades of service to his community and our state have made an immeasurable impact, and I hope he draws strength and support from all those who are thinking of him," Rep. Chris Pappas said in a tweet.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Renny and his family. For 30 years, Renny Cushing has served the state of New Hampshire as an elected official, fighting every day for our communities," Rep Annie Kuster said.

"We want to thank Dem. Leader Renny Cushing for all he has done to support our public schools and students, and to stand with working people in NH. We wish you and your family strength, grace, and peace in the fight you now face. In Solidarity," AFT NH president Deborah Howe said.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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